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 Tuesday, April 8, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Danceworks production explores, celebrates movement

The CU Theatre & Dance department's annual Danceworks production takes place April 17 through 20 in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre. This year's production, Danceworks 2008/In Motion, is a diverse, highly kinetic compilation featuring choreography by veteran faculty dance-makers Nada Diachenko and Toby Hankin as well as the newest addition to the dance faculty, Erika Randall. Visiting guest artists Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Nancy Cranbourne and Gabriel Masson complete the production.

"The pieces range from light to deeply emotive," said Hankin. "The student performers are of high quality and it's a great opportunity to see work by professional choreographers."

Hankin's piece highlights movement as expression. Three graduate students and three undergraduates perform the piece. "We've been working since October," said Hankin. "It's a wonderful process, but it's always a struggle to start. I begin without music, maybe a vague movement idea, and give myself time for the dance to develop organically."

Hankin is inspired by the spatial relationships and dynamic counterpoints that are naturally expressed through movement. She rarely choreographs her pieces to music; instead, she creates the dance and then finds musical pieces that will compliment the motion. "The dancers bring themselves to the movement, and it's wonderful to step back and see the dance create its own reason for being," she said.

In her inaugural Danceworks presentation, Randall eschews music altogether in favor of another medium – text read from a self-help book – that accompanies her piece, "Self Defense."

"The dance was created off of a solo that I developed a couple of years ago," said Randall. "I've increased the number of dancers to seven to amplify the accumulation and repetition of movement development. It's a piece filled with subversive humor."

"Self Defense" was recently performed at the American College Dance Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah and was selected for the gala showcase. The panel of national judicators praised it as "smart and sophisticated."

Diachenko's "Seated Moments" is a playful duet performed by Hankin and Diachenko. Using four stools of varying heights, moments of physical and emotional stillness contrast and blend with the music of Miles Davis.

Guest artists Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer feature a piece for 13 dancers that focuses on the energy and emotion of a crowded space. Their collaborative career spans almost 30 years and their work has received much acclaim. Nancy Cranbourne, artistic director of Boulder's own "40 Women Over 40" brings a unique approach to jazz dancing with a new piece, "Lucky #13" and Gabriel Masson returns to CU for a second year as a guest artist. His piece, "Midnight" exemplifies his deeply human and evocative approach to dance making.

Danceworks 2008/In Motion shows are at 8 p.m. April 17 through 19 and at 2 p.m. on April 20. Tickets are $8-$10 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 303-492-8181 or online.

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